H L Dawson

This is a fine study of the uniform worn by the British officers of the 9th Bengal Lancers in 1893. The tunic is blue with white facings. The half plastron was quite usual for Indian lancer regiments but had been discontinued in the British regular lancer regiments in 1879 in favour of the full plastron which extended to the waist. His lace is gold as are his buttons and cap lines. There are gold plaited shoulder cords with silver rank badges. His pouchbelt is gold laced with a white silk stripe, but his waist girdle is red and gold. The gold stripes on his breeches have a white light down the middle. In 1902 the gold stripes were changed to double white cloth stripes. His white helmet has a white pagri wrapped around it and gilt spike and chin-chain. Later a badge was put on the front of the helmet. The gold caplines were hooked to the back of the helmet.

Captain Dawson was one of the unfortunate officers left behind at Suakin with a squadron of the 9th when the rest of the regiment had gone home. He also, with the rank of major, commanded the regiment in 1897 on the Tirah expedition. In 1899 he was a Lieut-Colonel and resposible for the supply of horses in the South African War. Later in this war he was put in charge of Roberts Horse and subsequently commanded a corps of mounted infantry. He rejoined the 9th in November 1900.

The photograph was taken in England when an Indian Contingent was sent for the opening of the Imperial Institute in 1893.

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by Stephen Luscombe